Preserving a Raw Capture


Today’s Question: When I want to preserve a virtual copy, I send it to Photoshop from Lightroom Classic and save it as a TIFF file. I assume this is the only way to preserve a virtual copy when the original raw capture is deleted?

Tim’s Quick Answer: Creating a derivative image based on a virtual copy from Lightroom Classic enables you to preserve that virtual copy, even if the source capture is deleted. That includes sending the virtual copy to Photoshop to create a derivative image or exporting a copy of the image.

More Detail: Today’s question was in response to a recent answer about virtual copies, which discussed the fact that if you delete an original raw capture from Lightroom Classic, any virtual copies that had previously been created based on that original capture will also be deleted.

If you want to preserve a virtual copy beyond your Lightroom Classic catalog, you’ll need to create a derivative image based on the virtual copy.

As noted in today’s question, one way you can do that is to send the virtual copy to Photoshop using the Photo > Edit In command. This will create a derivative image in either the TIFF or Photoshop PSD file format, depending on the setting you have established on the External Editing tab of the Preferences dialog in Lightroom Classic. That derivative image would then also be included in the catalog for Lightroom Classic.

You could also export the virtual copy from Lightroom Classic, creating a derivative image as part of the process. This could be a TIFF or PSD file for example, but it could also be in the form of a copy of the original raw capture. If you export a virtual copy based on a raw capture and use the “Original” option for the file format setting when exporting, you’ll be creating a copy of the raw capture. Along with that raw capture, however, will be an XMP “sidecar” file that includes the standard metadata as well as the Develop module adjustments for the image.

The raw capture could then be imported into a Lightroom Classic catalog, or opened with Camera Raw in Photoshop, and the previous adjustments would be included.